Losing your ability to read due to age-related vision changes can be very frustrating. Presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eyes' ability to focus on nearby objects as the lens inside the eye becomes less flexible.
Monovision LASIK is a surgical technique employed by ophthalmologists to correct presbyopia. With this technique, the vision in one eye is corrected for distance vision and the vision in the other eye is used for near vision. This procedure eliminates the need for contact lenses, reading glasses, or bifocals, eyeglasses with two distinct optical powers.
Some of the common indications for considering Monovision LASIK include:
- Difficulty with near vision in those over the age of 40
- Blurred or double vision with reading
- Headaches or eyestrain
- Not wanting to wear reading glasses due to the inconvenience or for aesthetic reasons.
Who is a Good Candidate for Monovision LASIK?
Some of the criteria for undergoing a Monovision LASIK treatment include:
- You should be at least 18 years old
- You should not have a history of “dry eyes” or other eye conditions
- You should have a good general health
- You should not be pregnant or nursing
- You should not be on certain prescription drugs
As part of your preoperative preparation, your doctor will perform a thorough eye examination and review your eye prescription history. During the examination process, your doctor will:
- Study the shape and features of your eyes in general
- Dilate your pupils to accurately evaluate your vision
- Test your eyes for glaucoma, dry eyes, and health of the retina
- Take measurements of the curvature and thickness of the cornea
If you are already wearing contact lenses, you will be asked to stop wearing them for some time before the examination, as well as before the procedure, so that your cornea has time to assume its natural shape. You should refrain from using makeup or lotion around the eyes a few days prior to the surgery. The risks, benefits, and complications will be discussed prior to obtaining informed consent for the procedure.
To achieve monovision, the dominant eye or the eye which has better distance vision is usually treated with LASIK surgery to improve distance vision, while the other eye may be treated or left untreated so that it can focus clearly on nearby objects. LASIK surgery is an outpatient procedure that takes 10 to 15 minutes for each eye and involves the following steps:
- The eye is moistened.
- A suction ring is placed to immobilize the eye and keep the cornea in a fixed position.
- A thin hinged flap of corneal tissue from the outer layer of the eyeball or cornea is cut using a special device and lifted out of the way.
- The underlying corneal tissue is reshaped using a laser and the flap is then replaced which quickly adheres to the eyeball.
- A shield of clear plastic or perforated metal is placed over the eye to protect the flap for about 4-5 days while it heals.
Postoperative care and instructions include the following:
- You may be advised not to work for a few days and rest the eyes to promote healing.
- Refrain from any sports activities for 3 days.
- You may experience mild discomfort in the eyes for which your doctor will prescribe medications.
- Refrain from hot tubs or swimming for a couple of weeks.
- Refrain from driving until your vision has improved.
- Report to your doctor immediately if you notice any untoward or aggravating side effects.
- A follow-up appointment will be scheduled to monitor your progress.
Risks and Complications
Some of the potential risks and complications associated with Monovision LASIK include:
- Reduced night vision
- Irreversible eye damage
- Dry eye issues
- Glare and halos
- Blurriness with distance or near vision
- Reduced contrast sensitivity, crispness, or vision sharpness
- Corneal inflammation or infection
- Problems with the corneal flap
Monovision LASIK for presbyopia patients is both safe and effective with a high level of patient satisfaction. It is a great alternative for people who wish to lessen their dependence on vision-correction devices such as reading glasses or bifocals. Millions of people have undergone Monovision LASIK to correct their vision with exceptional success.